Thanks to everyone for a wonderful Bon Voyage party. We are very grateful for your friendship and support. We cast off and sailed about 25 miles down river to Martins Slough, where we are anchored for the night. It was a rainy trip which reminded us that fall is coming. We are dry and glad to be underway.
We took a short cruise north to the Gulf and San Juan Islands during August. It gave us a chance to try out new gear on Gypsy and to work on our rusty sailing skills. Gypsy did great and we found that we did better than expected.
Nina made a cockpit shade, the side curtains and a companionway cover. They were big improvements in our comfort on the boat, protecting us from the sun, wind and rain if it had rained.
Looking forward, port side. The yellow line on the left is a jack line so we can attach ourselves to the boat when we have to go forward in the ocean. Our ocean life jackets have D rings to accommodate a tether so we are always attached to the boat or to a jack line. Toward the center is the boarding ladder Bill built out of teak. To the right of that is the dinghy seat, oars and sailing kit. In the front of the boat is our nesting dingy. In the foreground on the right is one of our three solar panels.
Down the starboard, or right side, of the boat is another yellow jackline. The white canister is our life raft.
This is the view out the dodger window. The gear on the deck blocks some of our view, so we also look over the dodger and around the side to get a complete view.
The first obstacle going down river is the Vancouver railroad bridge. The bridge is too low for us to go under it. It swings open to let tall boats and ships through. Depending on train traffic it can be a slow or a fast wait. This time we got right through.
While everything on deck looks shipshape, we were still figuring out where things needed to be stowed down below. Portland to Astoria is about 100 miles, and when you are traveling at about 6 knots it takes awhile. We split the trip up into three legs. Day one: Portland to Walker Island. Day two: Walker Island to Cathlamet, Washington. Day three: Cathlamet to Astoria West Basin. At Walker Island we met up with Rose City folks heading home from the Lazy Days Cruise: Willow, Lady Louise, Honalee and Crystal Swan. On the way to Cathlamet, Bill organized the head storage and tried to get our Open CPN and GPS to talk to one another. An email to the great folks at Rodgers Marine Electronics solved that problem. The charting program on the laptop now knew where we were. We got to Cathlamet on farmers market day so we got some fresh blueberries and figs. The next morning we headed to Astoria. In Astoria we filled the fuel tank and worked on our offshore prep list. We made a trip to Englunds Marine for some last minute parts.
Day five we were ready to head across the bar. The tides determine when you cross. We left at 8:45 in the morning. It was cool with low clouds and light NW wind. We motored down river with the help from the ebbing (outgoing) tide. At 9:23 Nina lost her hat overboard. We did not rescue it and considered it a sacrifice to the gods of the deep. The ebbing tide had us going 11.5 knots over ground, so it must have worked. That is a five knot boost in boat speed. By 10:10 we past buoy 3 so we were across the bar and officially in the ocean. We started heading north. At 3:00 pm (1500 hours) we started doing watches.
When we are on a passage we take turns being on watch or sleeping. We have found that 3 hour watches work well for us. Nina has the watch from midnight to 3:00 am, Bill has 3:00-6:00 am, Nina 6:00-9:00 am, Bill 9:00-noon, Nina noon to 3:00 pm, Bill 3:00-6:00 pm, Nina 6:00-9:00 pm, Bill 9:00-midnight. While you are on watch you keep a lookout for other boats and ships, set the course and note important information in the log book. Log entries cover where you are, the weather and wind.
Off watch you sleep, if you get caught up on sleep you can read or work on a project or cook.
The northwest corner of Washington State is Cape Flattery. That is where we turned east to head down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
It is a long way down the strait to Victoria. The wind from the west built over the afternoon and by evening was blowing strongly. We kept reefing the sails to keep the boat speed under control. It was well after dark by the time we got to Victoria. We did not want to enter Victoria Harbour at night so we sailed on to Oak Bay, a suburb, where you can also clear customs. We got there and tied up to the customs dock at 12:15 am. We cleared customs and waited until morning to get fuel and a slip in the marina.
One of the things we agreed on early in our boat ownership days was that projects were okay, but the boat had to be sailable. That kind of got put on the hard so to speak for the past four or five years. We now have most of the major projects done. It’s time to go sailing. We headed up to the the San Juan and Gulf Islands on Gypsy for a short three week shakedown cruise and to meet up with friends on Drømen. There will be more about that soon. Meanwhile, there’s a Bon Voyage party to invite you to before we head south. Hope you can make it.
Bon Voyage Party
Bill and Nina are sailing Gypsy to Mexico
Saturday, September 7 4:00-8:00 Rose City Yacht Club
It’s a potluck party, drop by and see Gypsy.
Please RSVP GypsyKramer@gmail.com
Rose City Yacht Club, 3737 NE Marine Drive, Portland
Gate code: 572637# (Kramer on a phone keypad)
And you may have noticed we’ve changed the title of the blog. We hope it reflects the direction our project is taking.
It has been almost two months since our last post. A lot has been happening, but most of it is not about boats. We sold our house in NE Portland and bought a small condo in NE Portland. Thank you David, our super realtor and sailing friend. We moved off of Gypsy and into the condo June 21st. We then had to do those new house things, like empty boxes and buy a couch. Then just as we were starting to return our focus to Gypsy we had a trip to Minneapolis to see family over the fourth.
Since we got back we have been checking tasks off of the list. Gypsy has a new alternator and voltage regulator. The old ones are going to be our spares. We installed a single sideband marine short wave radio. This will let us get weather forecasts, send text emails and join boater nets. We installed lots of wires and parts and managed to find spaces for them. We added an AIS transponder, which tells other ships near by that we are there too and lets us know who they are and how fast they are moving. We installed three solar panels and a solar controller. Nina has been getting the overhead panels covered in white vinyl and reinstalled. The cabin looks much better. Our life raft is now installed on the deck. The cabin has a new bookcase and table and a galley storage cabinet.
We also signed up for the Baja HaHa. It is a 150 boat regatta from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. It gives a date to leave for Mexico and it may help us get more social. It leaves San Diego November 4th. We are working on a date for a Bon Voyage party in Portland before we leave. We will let you know once the date is set.
This is our new rallying cry. Things get rough: save the peonies! There’s a sailing tie-in? Nina is getting close to retiring, and of her colleagues (thank you, Windy!) gave her a beautiful bunch of peonies as a send off. They were put in a growler mason jar on Gypsy and we headed up to Government Island for the Memorial Day cruise. We ended up on the outside dock and occasionally things got pretty bouncy. The peonies made it through the weekend without mishap.
It was lovely to be out for a weekend cruise. The weather was iffy: it poured one afternoon, right about happy hour, but we did get some sunshine the next day. We turned the furnace on at one point to warm up and help cut the condensation that was building up in the cabin. Cooler weather and three adults aboard create a lot of damp air.
Meanwhile, between March and now, an amazing amount of life has been happening. Gypsy went to the Rocky Point Boatyard to get her bottom painted in March. Bill has been working on various boat projects. Nina still has a day job. We spent much of April and May getting our house ready to sell, looking for and finding a condo to downsize to, and we have temporarily moved aboard Gypsy.
Getting to Rocky Point is about a three hour trip. We started out and discovered that the autopilot was totally wonky so we hand steered the whole way down and back. Bill had added a rudder sensor so the autopilot would know where the rudder was. Because we have a tiller there was some slight confusion about how to set it – tiller direction or rudder direction? He later figured it out and now it works beautifully.
Another of Bill’s projects was replacing the laminate on the chart table. He made a two layer template out of masonite strips so it would be thick enough and strong enough to be a router guide, and the overlapped corners solved the how to make strong template corners. He did such a good job the template almost didn’t come out.
We’re now temporarily camped out on Gypsy while we wait for all the house selling and buying to finish up. Moving involves new routines and new neighbors. This is a new neighbor that we did not want.
This has been a cold winter and we have been trying to stay busy with projects that do not require glue or paint. We also took time off to go to the Seattle Boat Show and to visit family in Minneapolis.
The boat show gave us a chance to visit with good friends, the crews of Dromen and Velic. We did order a life raft at the show and we got some neat new fids. We got Selma fids, they are lovely. Nina is happy. They are worth getting if you have any splicing to do.
Minneapolis was cold. We got off the plane and entered the polar vortex. There are reasons I moved away from Minneapolis and -15 degrees, (minus 30 with wind chill), is one of them. The weather did warm up and we left on a day that was a balmy 15 degrees and snowing.
The cold followed us to Portland. We made cardboard mock ups of the table and bookcase. It was too cold to do much else.
We also worked on the cleats for the shelving in the hanging lockers.
As I write this the weather is finally warming up. We have had two days in the low sixties. Gypsy is going to the boat yard tomorrow for a survey and bottom paint. The nice weather will be great. It also means that you will get to watch more paint dry in the next installment.
January’s ceilings led Bill to the Sistine Chapel. We have ceilings. We don’t have the art work. Nor, honestly, will we. We will have overhead panels. They will have vinyl glued to them shortly, but still no creation story memorialized overhead, only in the blog.